What is Window Cladding?

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Quality window cladding prevents excess moisture from leaking through your windows.
Quality window cladding prevents excess moisture from leaking through your windows. (Image: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Windows may be an often overlooked part of your home but are nonetheless vital for maintaining your interior humidity, temperature and to give your house or apartment much-appreciated sunlight. Window cladding has become a common option in many commercial windows, and you should be fully aware of exactly what it is before deciding on what kind to get.

Cladding Basics

Window cladding looks very similar to the frame and sits around the perimeter of your window. It is sealed to the glass with some sort of sealant, such as silicone, and is designed to direct water away from any of the underlying wood of the window frame, which ultimately prevents rotting. Window cladding is necessary for weatherproofing windows. Without them, water would seep through into the frame.

Materials

Window cladding was once made of wood. Some manufacturer's still make wood cladding for those who want to achieve the "antique" look for a home, but it is relatively impractical. Modern cladding is made with aluminum or vinyl. Unlike wood, vinyl and aluminum will not rot over time with water, are stronger than wood and do not need frequent repainting.

Vinyl Cladding

Vinyl cladding has become one of the most common options for window manufacturers. For those who want a custom look, it comes in numerous color possibilities, and it can even be made to resemble wood. Vinyl is a natural insulator, so cold air does not penetrate your windows quite as easily, which leads to lower energy bills in the winter months. It is also among the cheapest options for cladding.

Aluminum Cladding

Aluminum is another common cladding option. This type of cladding has many of the same benefits of vinyl, including strength and durability. It may also come in a wide range of colors and acts as a natural insulator. Aluminum does not expand and contract over time, which makes it adept at handling extreme weather, such as hurricanes. It is the best bet if you live in an area prone to heavy precipitation; however, it will lose its sheen after prolonged use, resulting in the need to paint it every few years.

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